Unite workers union announced last night that its 2,500 members rejected the the Offshore Contractors Association (OCA) pay offer after a consultative ballot.
Negotiations with the OCA have been ongoing since January this year, with a revised offer on overall pay, terms and conditions framework was made by the OCA in June.
Officials from the union and the OCA, which represents nine companies, including WorleyParsons, Petrofac and Wood, have met a number of times to try to resolve the situation.
Unite regional officer Tommy Campbell said: “Unite’s thousands of members in the offshore sector covered by the OCA agreement have participated in a consultative ballot to emphatically reject the pay offer.
“We hope the strength of feeling demonstrated among Unite members will be taken seriously by the OCA employers. We now have no option but to ballot our members for industrial action.”
Unions have argued for better terms workers, including a wage increase, along with improved sick pay and paid travel time.
The OCA came up with an offer to increase pay by 2%, but it was rejected by workers.
Paul Atkinson, chief executive of the Offshore Contractors Association said: “We have worked very closely with Trade Union officials to create a sustainable employment model that provides the workforce with greater stability whilst also improving the utilisation of resources.”
“We are disappointed that members of Unite and the GMB have chosen to reject the OCA offer. Our priority is to deliver a settled agreement that maintains stability within the oil and gas sector.
“We will continue to engage in constructive dialogue with all three trade unions to achieve an early resolution to any outstanding issues.”
The unions said a majority of workers had backed a walkout, but legal requirements for staging a strike were not satisfied.
At least 50% of eligible members must vote in favour of industrial action for a strike to go ahead.